A Map of Human Type 1 Diabetes Progression by Imaging Mass Cytometry

Cell Metab. 2019 Mar 5;29(3):755-768.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.11.014. Epub 2019 Jan 31.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) results from the autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing β cells. A comprehensive picture of the changes during T1D development is lacking due to limited sample availability, inability to sample longitudinally, and the paucity of technologies enabling comprehensive tissue profiling. Here, we analyzed 1,581 islets from 12 human donors, including eight with T1D, using imaging mass cytometry (IMC). IMC enabled simultaneous measurement of 35 biomarkers with single-cell and spatial resolution. We performed pseudotime analysis of islets through T1D progression from snapshot data to reconstruct the evolution of β cell loss and insulitis. Our analyses revealed that β cell destruction is preceded by a β cell marker loss and by recruitment of cytotoxic and helper T cells. The approaches described herein demonstrate the value of IMC for improving our understanding of T1D pathogenesis, and our data lay the foundation for hypothesis generation and follow-on experiments.

Keywords: T cell recruitment; endocrine pancreas; highly multiplexed imaging; imaging mass cytometry; immune cells; in situ imaging; islet of Langerhans; pseudotime; type 1 diabetes; β cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Image Cytometry / methods*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology
  • Pancreas / metabolism*
  • Pancreas / pathology


  • Biomarkers